Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Doctor Who continues to delight after 50 years

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As I write this, we are about an hour away from what is sure to be one of the best TV events in history. By the time you read this, this magical day will have come and past with plenty of reactions and spoilers posted online. Happy 50th anniversary, “Doctor Who!”

For those of you who don’t know, “Doctor Who” is a British scifi TV show that follows a humanoid alien, known only as the Doctor, who travels through time. His adventures change the face of the world and, indeed, the entire universe, even as he himself changes his face. He often travels with a human companion who does everything from keeping him in line to simply keeping him company.

This is the incredibly quick and dirty version of the Doctor. The show has a deep and nearly endless amount of backstory and character development I am omitting here for the sake of time — after all, we’re talking about 50 years of television.

I first was introduced to “Doctor Who” in 2005 when the show returned to television after a hiatus off the air. At the time, I enjoyed the show and happily watched when it aired, but I had other things to do, and planning my schedule around one of hour television a week wasn’t going to happen.

The Doctor’s companions were what really kept me away. The first two main companions in the new series, Rose and Martha, were both, in my teenage eyes, annoying stereotypes who blindly fell in love with the protagonist. It was beyond frustrating. However, when the third companion, Donna Noble, sought out the Doctor, I fell in love. Donna was everything I wanted to be — sassy, smart, independent and, most importantly, able to keep “lurve” out of the equation. Donna never fell for the Doctor. They were soulmates, but not in the way we think of soulmates. Donna and the Doctor were best friends, and this allowed for not only interesting character development but also for a wonderful female role-model — a sight rarely seen in modern television. Donna was my real introduction to the Doctor, and I will never regret jumping down the rabbit hole of this fandom.

Part of the reason “Doctor Who” has such a large fanbase comes from the story. The characters may be lovable, but it’s the plot that really keeps me coming back. Somehow, the show maintains a childlike wonder that doesn’t turn off adult viewers. The show’s fans experience new worlds for the first time alongside the Doctor and his companions. Each episode is like being born again to see our home through brand new eyes. It’s a feeling that can’t be described by the limited vocabulary language allows. It must be experienced to be believed.

Yet, as it maintains this sense of innocence, the show never treats its audience like children. The writers understand this is an adult show, and they know to write with that in mind. The characters are rich and far from one-dimensional. Their stories deal with areas of moral grey that plague us in the real world everyday. What’s better is the writers don’t often offer a clear answer. What may be a good solution once may not be a good solution again; it is the most realistic portrayal of ethical dilemmas I’ve seen in pop culture.

I think the biggest reason this show has lasted so long, though, comes from the feeling of suspended reality it creates. Living in the frigid, practically abandoned north is not something I necessarily enjoy. The idea that there is a world beyond my immediate one seems elementary. My little bubble of reality is only one in billions of people’s on this planet, after all. But every now and then when fits of selfishness hit — usually when walking to class in sub-zero weather — I like to imagine a crazy man in a blue box appearing in my path to class. He offers me adventures I can’t even dream about. He offers an escape from my own little bubble. We go on adventures and become the best of friends. We watch the universe cycle through near-destructions and near-utopias. We experience life in a universal form and always take care to remember how our actions affect others.

These fantasies are what keep me grounded to the fact that this world, however small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, is still inhabited by individuals. Each one is important. Each one is special. The fictional Doctor sees and understands this, and I hope one day we all will too.

Kjerstine Trooien is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at kjerstine.trooien@my.und.edu.

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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who continues to delight after 50 years | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Doctor_Who_continues_to_delight_after_50_years | work=Dakota Student | pages= | date=2013-11-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 October 2019 }}</ref>
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